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Re: Someone's missing the point...it's us.



On Thu, 2005-08-11 at 09:59 -0400, Greg DeKoenigsberg wrote:
> > >"fedora.redhat.com" would remain as, basically, a paragraph worth of 
> > >mission statement and a page full of links.
> > >  
> > >
> > That would lead to confusion. If we are moving to fedoraproject.org, we 
> > should do that for good and get rid of fedora.redhat.com
> 
> Let me rephrase:
> 
> We would keep fedora.redhat.com to acknowledge Fedora's association with 
> Red Hat, and the "page of links" would be links to fedoraproject.org.  We 
> can't just make f.r.c disappear.
> 
> I suppose we could redirect DNS, though.  But I think f.r.c has a 
> (minimal) place.

Warning to the faint of heart: The following contains some criticisms by
a die-hard Red Hat fan and Fedora user (and doc writer/editor).  No
ulterior motives here other than getting people to realize how GREAT
Fedora is, and could be.

Pointing to Alex's earlier comments, f.r.c needs to be more than just a
"page of links" pointing to fp.org.  If the page is to move through
redirection, as makes sense with the eventual coalescence of the Fedora
Foundation, it still needs to be canonical and full of marketing
goodness, as opposed to providing dry statements about project
positioning.  (Frankly, it should also not be wiki-editable, given those
first two requirements.)

Alex made reference to the Firefox page as being a great example of how
to drive perception of a product, and she is right on the money.  The
Firefox page answers a number of questions in the top 50% or so of the
main screen, such as:

- "What is this?"  Not written for Linux people or open-source people,
written for general-purpose computing users.
- "Why would I want this, as opposed to (what I've already got |
something else)?"
- "What does it take for me to get it?"

Out of these questions, which do you think is most important?  My
personal feeling is "Why?".  Why would I want Fedora?  Why would I want
to contribute to this community?  Why this over some other
distribution?  

By way of comparison, the f.r.c main page makes references to projects
and proving grounds, and does not appeal to any sort of audience that is
not part of the Fedora community already.  In fact, the first paragraph
of the page spends more time talking about the relationship with Red Hat
than why anyone might want to use the distribution.  Take a look: the
word "community" appears once.  The name "Red Hat" appears thrice.  My
point is not to de-emphasize Red Hat's (more than) substantial
contributions to the project.  It is that people looking at the distro
as either their first foray into Linux or to scratch a Linux itch don't
see any compelling reasons to pick Fedora when they look at our web
page.

The Firefox page has compelling reasons why.  Because it's more secure.
Because it's faster.  Because it gives you more choices.  Because it's
better.

Where are our compelling reasons for Fedora?

We *link* to some more information about the project, but in marketing
the first impression is often the only impression.  What jumps out at
you when the page loads?

"Fedora Project at LinuxWorld San Francisco 2005."

Which is awesome, don't get me wrong, but not nearly the magnetic draw
that we want for Fedora to nab new community members.  News like this
needs to be shunted off to a different page.  The front page should be
all about why, why, why.  Why get involved?  And frankly, "why use?",
because without *regular* people *using* the product, Fedora really does
seem eventually destined to be dismissed as a cheap labor source.

If someone does drill down into the pages to which we link -- About and
Objectives in particular, assuming they take the time -- almost make the
project sound like a "by us, *for* us" group, an attitude which bears
little resemblance to those of community members with whom I've had the
pleasure of dealing.  While certainly the project must encourage
contribution and discourage free-loading in order to survive, the way
the concept is promulgated by the f.r.c pages comes across as a little
exclusionary.

This may be a necessity to keep people from thinking of Fedora as a
product that carries some entitlement such as support, but the front
page should be a more welcoming and encouraging experience for a
newcomer.  (The "more flies with honey than vinegar" theory at work.)
We encourage contribution by giving people a satisfactory experience
using Fedora first.  Bugzilla reports are a big step, but we can get
newcomers there through patience, accessible documentation and
consistent usability.

I taught at a national (U.S.) conference earlier this week and my
audience, technical professionals who are not developers or service
providers, included a lot of frequent Linux users.  About 15% of the
distro users were on Fedora.  What was surprising was the number of
people who had jumped ship from Red Hat Linux to some free distro other
than Fedora because of misinformation (instability was the most-cited
factor).  I'm not sure what this has to do with my argument above, but I
wanted to toss this out there before I forgot to mention it.

-- 
Paul W. Frields, RHCE                          http://paul.frields.org/
  gpg fingerprint: 3DA6 A0AC 6D58 FEC4 0233  5906 ACDB C937 BD11 3717
 Fedora Documentation Project: http://fedora.redhat.com/projects/docs/

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